Last week the field hockey team posted back-to-back shutouts as they defeated both Wellesley and University of South Maine (USM) in non-conference play.
The Polar Bears kept the Wellesley offense from scoring, and also outpaced the Blue in shots (30-0) and corners (16-0).
Brooke Phinney ’13 was the first to score after a string of corners, capitalizing on a loose-ball scramble following a shot by Lauren Shroeder ’14 in the 23rd minute.
A formidable Wellesley squad vied for control in the midfield throughout the game, but Bowdoin’s staunch defense silenced the previously undefeated Blue.
Defense had been a concern for Head Coach Nicky Pearson early in the season, but she has seen marked improvement.
“I was pleased with adjustments we made defensively to limit their opportunities. We spent quite a bit of time at practice on defensive communication,” she said.
In the second half Cathleen Smith ’13 connected on one of the team’s chances when she scored off a rebounded shot by Phinney.
Bolstered by the convincing victory, the Polar Bears went into a midweek match against USM still hoping to improve. Pearson says she had hoped to see more recovery defense in the midfield and even more communication.
For their fourth consecutive win, Bowdoin lit up the USM defense, scoring seven unanswered goals before the final whistle.
Katie Riley ’14 passed to first year Rachel Kennedy to open the scoring within the first two minutes of the match.
Kennedy’s four goals this season matches Smith for the most on the team.
“[Kennedy] is creating opportunities for herself. She is being very disciplined on positioning and has taken advantage of offensive opportunities given to her from the midfield,” Pearson said.
Phinney led the scoring effort with two tallies. Smith, Pam Herter ’15, Emily Simonton ’15, and Beth Findley ’16 also contributed a goal each.
The match allowed Pearson the valuable opportunity to see younger players in a competitive situation.
“It was impressive that as different people went into the game we maintained the intensity and continued to create great scoring opportunities,” Pearson said.
Bowdoin will travel to Middlebury tomorrow to face the Panthers at noon.
The Polar Bears anticipate a high level, competitive match against its perennial NESCAC rival. Middlebury ousted Bowdoin from the NCAA final four after the Polar Bears handed them a defeat in the NESCAC championship last year.
Bowdoin is ranked as the fifth-best team in D-III by the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association, two places behind Middlebury which is tied for second.
Adrienne O’Donnell ’15, said the intensity from the USM game and from practice is “what we need to bring to the Middlebury game to do well.”